Player of the Week
Jarrod Polson – Kentucky
Raise your hand if you thought that Kentucky would desperately need a big night from it’s seldom used former walk on to beat Maryland. That’s exactly what happened in the team’s opener as Polson had a career high 10 points to go along with 3 assists and a couple of rebounds to help the Wildcats defeat the Turtles. Polson’s provided a spark off the bench when starter Ryan Harrow was under the weather with a cold. Polson had scored a total of seven points during his first two seasons at Kentucky and with his performance against Maryland, the junior has probably earned more playing time going forward.
Laurence Bowers – Missouri
Bowers missed all of last season after he injured his knee. He spent the last year rehabbing and watching his team grab a #2 seed in the tournament only to let it slip away in the round of 64. He returned to action in Missouri’s opener and had 20 points and 7 rebounds in only 25 minutes to help lead his team to a win. He showed no signs of any lingering effects of the injury and even showed off an increased range on his jump shot, hitting two three’s after only hitting 10 in his first three years on campus.
Ryan Harrow – Kentucky
Things couldn’t have gone worse for the guy who was pegged to fill the shoes left by Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague in a long list of Calipari point guards. He barely played in the second half against Maryland with what was reported as flu-like symptoms but he was taken out of the game at one point for trying to make a highlight reel pass for an alley-oop instead of making the easy play. He finished the game 0-4 from the field with no rebounds and two assists. Coach Cal is a no nonsense type of guy and it doesn’t take long to get into his dog house.
Scottie Wilbekin – Florida
The junior guard was pegged to start in the back court for the Gators before being suspended for an unspecified reason prior to Friday’s shortened season opener against Georgetown. He missed the team’s second game against Alabama State and as of now, isn’t slated to play when the Gators host Wisconsin on Wednesday night. With the way that Mike Rosario played in the opener I doubt that Wilbekin starts if and when he is cleared to play.
Top 5 Games of the Week
11/13 – Kentucky vs. Duke
This will be a Top 25 match up between two of college basketball’s most storied programs. The two teams haven’t met since 2001 with Duke getting the win in overtime. Duke is coming off of a blowout win against Georgia State in Cameron while Kentucky barely survived against Maryland in New Jersey. Both teams play good defense but the edge goes to the Blue Devils in this one as they have advantage in both experience and depth.
11/14 – Wisconsin vs. Florida
The Gators will get their first shot at a signature win with Bo Ryan’s Badgers coming to town. Both teams are ranked with Florida being the higher team in what should turn out to be one of the better OOC games of the young season. One match up to keep an eye on in this one will be Jared Berggren against Patric Young as both players are premier big men in their respective conferences.
11/16 – Vanderbilt vs. Oregon
This would have been a premier match up had Vandy not lost so many key contributors from last year’s team. Still, this is one of the more interesting early season games for either team. Oregon comes into the season with an outside shot to receive an at-large birth to the tournament. EJ Singler, Tony Woods and Dominic Artis form a very formidable threesome and a win against a Vandy team, albeit a rebuilding one, would go a long way with the selection committee.
11/19 – Indiana vs. Georgia
These two teams square off in the first round of the Legend’s Classic next Monday in a game that will feature two highly touted NBA prospects in Cody Zeller and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. It would be nice if they played the same position so they could go toe to toe with one another on a big stage in New Jersey but either way both guys will have the opportunity to showcase their talents on a National State.
11/19 – Mississippi State vs. North Carolina
This game won’t be very competitive but it is a must watch because of the NBA talent on the UNC roster and also because the Maui Invitational is one of the best pre-season tournaments out there. Mississippi State is in full-scale rebuilding mode this season so the Tar Heels should have their way with them. Sure fire lottery pick and potential top pick James McAdoo will have his talents on display in this one as he tries to lead this North Carolina team to a Tournament Title.